Beau’s admission: ‘I was ashamed’
FROM the outside, Beau Ryan has it all.
Successful sporting career, fame, supportive family and a loving marriage.
But the former NRL star turned TV personality says his "selfish" ways almost cost him everything - including his marriage to high school sweetheart Kara to "implode".
In 2015, Channel 9's Footy Show larrikin was accused of romantic liaisons with former Hi-5 performer Lauren Brant after Brant's former fiance Warren Riley accused the pair of cheating in an interview with Woman's Day magazine.
Riley, who called off his engagement to Brant in the wake of the scandal, told the magazine that his partner admitted to the romance which reportedly occurred in July 2015 while she and Ryan performed together in Sydney's production of Aladdin and his Wondrous Lamp.
But in an exclusive tell-all interview with news.com.au's new podcast series Balls Deep - a series of in-depth interviews with men talking about the topics they don't normally discuss - Ryan says there were "warning signs" before his relationship reached breaking point.
"When I retired [from NRL] … I was very self absorbed and focused on working and providing," Ryan explained.
"We spent a lot of time apart, and in 2014/15 I was working my a**e off but I wasn't connected and I wasn't really connected to anyone.
"Doors were opening left, right and centre in the business world and in my career. It was wonderful all these opportunities. But my personal life, I shut it down. Not only Kara, but my friends and my manager.
"I was in my own little tornado. I needed to take a step back and something needed to happen … and something did."
While Ryan, who is the father to five-year-old daughter Remi, and 11-month-old son Jesse, didn't mention Brant by name, he said he was "ashamed" by what happened in 2015 - but has allowed his "mistakes" to shape the husband and parent he is today.
"In 2015, we had some stuff happen between us that I was super upset about and super ashamed about," he explained. "I can't hide from that."
"It's always going to be there, but it can shape me to who I am now and learn from my mistakes.
"I had some really bad things happen that were my fault and that weren't my fault, [but] we stuck together.
"Kara has been through everything with me … we've been together for 15 years. We've had so many good and bad times. But to hurt her, and to know what it's going to do to my family, I would never put them in that position again."
In the months following the scandal, Mrs Ryan - who married the former winger in October 2012 - admitted she was "upset and confused" by the situation, but that her main concern was her husband throughout the ordeal.
"I was actually more worried for Beau, if I'm honest," she told the magazine. "It's not like he was this monster that I just couldn't be around.
"The grass isn't always greener, and while it was a difficult situation, running from anything in life is never the answer.
"I'm probably emotionally stronger than Beau, and I could see how upset he was, so I was more concerned for him and our family."
The couple escaped to Vietnam to "figure everything out" after the news broke and say they realised they wanted to strengthen their bond, not tear it apart.
But before the scandal, Ryan says it was a parenting decision he made when their daughter Remi was just a toddler that "fractured" their marriage prior to the alleged scandal.
"Kara had her own [hairdressing] business," the 33-year-old recalled.
"In 2014, when I retired, all I wanted her to do was stay at home with my daughter and sell the business.
"I had this picture in my mind … your wife should be at home … and that was the worst thing I could've done. It took away her purpose, and we actually struggled in all honesty after that because she lost her identity and she lost her purpose.
"It rocked her…then it fractured us."
Ryan said the decision for her to step back and be a stay-at-home mum initially came from his own experience growing up, but admits the move didn't work for his young family.
"I come from a blue collar area where the dad is either in the mines or steelworks, and the mum looks after the kids and that is the way it is," he said. "But that's not the way it is.
"My priority is my family … but it actually wasn't because I wasn't allowing her to chase her dream. It [hairdressing] was her passion and her dream and her purpose, and if you take that away from someone, you're in all sorts [of trouble]."
Listen to Beau Ryan's full interview now on Balls Deep. Listen to and download it on news.com.au or iTunes.